The Hoboken hospitality industry has come under significant scrutiny as of late, with Mayor Ravi Bhalla naming a “Task Force” of city officials to address violence and quality of life issues resulting from intoxicated bar patrons.
According to the City, there were 277 liquor license violations, a.k.a. “tavern sheets,” in 2017. Of 133 liquor license holders, more than half received zero tavern sheets in 2017 and more than ¾ received two or fewer tavern sheets. Of the 277 violations, half were issued to just 11 Hoboken establishments (8% of the city’s bars).
However, the situation was underscored by last December’s SantaCon event, which saw 17 arrests and a number of assaults on Hoboken Police Officers.
Last week, an ordinance was slated to go before the Hoboken City Council that called for further restrictions on bar crowds, advertising and enhanced crowd control training for staffers. The ordinance was removed from the agenda—but given the volatile nature of the Hoboken bar/restaurant business in the face of demographic shifts and ongoing infrastructure issues that have negatively impacted the retail scene in general, a number of bar owners still showed up to voice their concerns.
“I want to work together with the City Council and the new mayor, but if we’re excluded and you just throw a quick resolution or ordinance together, we feel like outcasts,” said Aidan Boyle, owner of McSwiggan’s.
On Wednesday, January 24 at 8:00 p.m., it appears they’ll get their chance.
“The Hoboken City Council Public Safety Subcommittee invites all members of the public, including liquor license holders and residents, to attend a public subcommittee meeting,” said the City, via a press statement. “The purpose of the meeting is to identify solutions to the quality of life concerns resulting from intoxicated patrons, particularly during large scale events, without negatively impacting responsible businesses.”
With public opinion sharply divided on the matter, it should be a fairly passionate exchange.